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Hearing on Blackout Kicks Off with Interruptions and Protests

By on October 4, 2016

SAN JUAN—A public hearing by the Senate Committee on Energy, and Water Resources investigating the causes of the massive blackout that less than two weeks ago left Puerto Rico in the dark for nearly four days, was temporarily halted Tuesday after several members of the group called Basta Ya (“enough” in Spanish) rose in protest during the presentation by the chief restructuring officer of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (Prepa), Lisa Donahue.

Basta Ya spokesperson Jesús Antonio Valdés Ayala (CB/Agustin Criollo)

“Lisa Donahue has to leave Puerto Rico. She foresaw and said we would have blackouts. If she knew, she is just looking for another multi-million contract and one in Puerto Rico has put a stop to that. We are saying that she has to leave Puerto Rico and stop being earning such exorbitant amounts of money, ” group spokesperson Jesús Antonio Valdés Ayala said as he was escorted out of the Leopoldo Figueroa room in the Senate.

“We went to the headquarters and try to talk to Lisa Donahue and Javier Quintana and they never listened to us. Not only that, expect another collapse to comes around because that is their purpose, to take money out of Puerto Rico,” the activist said.

Ayala Valdés said that on June 27, the group claimed that there would be a collapse in the electric system, but nobody listened.

The Basta Ya spokesman also questioned the unconditional support that the governor of Puerto Rico, Alejandro García Padilla, has shown publicly for Lisa Donahue.

“If the Governor says that this lady has saved money for the people, with the $ 47 million [that she has gotten], well, that money that we have allegedly saved has just gone out with this four-day blackout that has so damaged our economy,” he said.

The community leader said that soon there will be a similar incident to the Prepa collapse, but this time in the Puerto Rico Aqueducts and Sewers Authority (Prasa).

“You will see, today I announce that Prepa is on the verge of collapse. [Prasa Executive Director Alberto Lázaro] said so last night. If we have no electricity and no water, what are we going to do,” he lamented.

Ayala Valdés said Basta Ya is a peaceful public resistance movement and added that he will publicly denounce what the group categorizes as as the intrusion of foreign companies to embezzle local funds.

Meanwhile, Bhatia did not censure interruption, indicating that the concerns shown by the group mirror those of the people of Puerto Rico.

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